Prince Harry and Meghan Markle shocked the world Wednesday by announcing that they want to distance themselves from the British Royal family’s traditional roles to become financially independent and split their time between the U.K. and North America.
Naturally, many wondered where in North America; not unreasonably, there was much speculation it could be Toronto. Markle spent years in the city shooting her show Suits and has well-documented connections to the city. Plus, the move would keep them in the Commonwealth.
While the news caught many by surprise, the plan has clearly been in the works for some time. A sharp-looking, fully developed website launched the same day as the announcement, providing detailed information about the couple’s plans to support the community, serve the monarchy and strengthen the Commonwealth. And it maaaay have even provided a small clue that some of their work will be done out of Toronto. The site, SussexRoyal.com, lists Toronto digital shop Article as the designer.
“It’s been a pleasure to work on this website with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex,” Article founder Ryan Sax told The Message. “To know that they chose our boutique Canadian agency means so much to us, and I’m happy we could create something special for them.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are listed among the firm’s clients, alongside Diane von Furstenberg, Canopy Growth, Hypebeast, Joe Fresh and Tokyo Smoke. The company seems to have a preference for lifestyle and influencer brands.
“While we don’t choose projects based on size, we are particular about fit. We look for clients who value the same things we do: Good design, strategic innovation, and strong relationships based on mutual respect and collaboration,” reads the “Our Story” section of the Article site.
One other noteworthy, industry-related element to the Sussex story is the muscular PR strategy, which is also clearly spelled out on the new site.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will no longer adhere to the traditional Royal Rota system, in which representatives from a small pool of well-known British media are given access to Royal events to share some of their reporting with the pool. Harry and Meghan are clearly over that system, and it has been reported that Harry harbours bad feelings toward the press over the 1997 death of his mother, Princess Diana, as well as for how Meghan has been treated.
“Britain’s Royal Correspondents are regarded internationally as credible sources of both the work of members of The Royal Family as well as of their private lives,” they write, before taking a sharp turn: “This misconception propels coverage that is often carried by other outlets around the world, amplifying frequent misreporting. Regrettably, stories that may have been filed accurately by Royal Correspondents are, also, often edited or rewritten by media editorial teams to present false impressions.”
The Duke and Duchess say they have developed their own media policies, which will include working with “grassroots media organizations and young, up-and-coming journalists,” as well as specialist media and “credible media outlets focused on objective news reporting.”
They also say they will continue to communicate through their social media channels. The big question for Canadian marketing, media and communications/PR professionals might be who else is helping the Duke and Duchess chart this bold new vision for 21st century royalty, if in fact they do make Canada a second home, free of the constraints of Buckingham Palace.